Yulia Tymoshenko was recently officially notified that she is a suspect in the murder of prominent Donetsk businessman and politician, Yevhen Shcherban. He and his wife had been assassinated by a band of killers at the city's airport in November 1996 as they were alighting from their aircraft.
Last April Yevhen's son, Ruslan, during a hesitant and rather embarrassing press conference, for the first time since his father's slaying publicly accused Tymoshenko of involvement in the assassination of his parents.
Well founded allegations were immediately made that Ruslan Shcherban was blackmailed to make such allegations by prosecutors after a hunting accident last February during which a friend of his, Rodion Drozdov, was shot dead.
Today Tetyana Chornovil in a good piece of investigative journalism on this topic reveals that Ruslan Shcherban, who may turn out to be the main prosecution witness in any murder trial, is a good friend of president Yanukovych’s elder son, Oleksandr Yanukovych.
Yanukovych jr. whose name now appears in the top 100 wealthiest Ukrainians lists, is also a business partner of Ruslan Shcherban and was a frequent visitor to the hunting lodge where Drozdov was shot dead almost exactly a year ago.
Drozdov had come to visit Scherban with a certain Serhiy Bogdanov. Bogdanov and Drozdov were business partners and ran the Donetsk-registered 'Metugletreyd 2008' commercial and industrial enterprise which extracts and enriches coal products.
Bogdanov is also the director of a financial and industrial company 'Kapital' - 100% of which is owned by Ruslan Shcherban.
But the most interesting thing is that in 2008 Bogdanov founded a company called 'Donsnabtara'. This was the first public company owned by Yanukovych's eldest son. In that year the current stars of political and economic life of the country were assembled under its roof.
In particular, Valentina Arbuzova, the mother of the current Deputy Prime Minister and former head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Serhiy Arbuzov was in charge of this company. Oleksandr Yanukovych was the main shareholder of the company with a personal stake of 75 million hryven.
So it seems then that a partner of Oleksandr Yanukovych was shot by a gun owned by Ruslan Shcherban. [Because there were so few witnesses to the crime it may even be that Shcherban himself fired the fatal shot.]
Ruslan Shcherban and Oleksandr Yanukovych were close in business matters too. It is possible that Bogdanov represented the interests of Ruslan Shcherban in 'Donsnabtara', the article says.
In addition, the younger Shcherban and Yanukovych have a common passion - banking. Chornovil found some interesting information in a register of court rulings from May 2009 about a money laundering case in which Yanukovych's 'UkrBusinessBank'. and Ruslan Shcherban's 'AKB Kapital' commercial bank were allegedly involved.
Residents of Mayatske forest, where Drozdov was shot, have told Chornovil that Oleksandr Yanukovych occasionally hunted there together with Ruslan Shcherban.
"He has not been here for a while, though," said one local forester. "Last time he came was six months ago."
Yulia Tymoshenko has declared that prosecutors have fabricated the case against her at the personal request of her greatest enemy, president Yanukovych.... and then it turns out that the main prosecution witness is a friend of the son of the man who is most interested in Tymoshenko being sentenced to life imprisonment.
In what looks could be a cover-up, last September a certain O.G. Novikov, who according to some reports is Shcherban jr.'s chauffeur, was sentenced to four years imprisonment for the involuntary manslaughter of Drozdov [caused by carelessness], and immediately unconditionally released.
Chornovil's article also provides details of the Novikov trial culled from court records and official public sources, and highlights serious omissions therein.
Being close to 'The Family' helps to resolve problems in any criminal case, says Chornovil, citing the example of another of Viktor Yanukovych's friends - head of Ukraine's highways agency, 'UkrAvtoDor', Volodymyr Demishkan.
Two years ago, a court released Demishkan's son Serhiy enabling him to avoid serving a prison sentence for murder. [See F.N. blog]
Demishkan earned the release of his son by handing over a Crimean 'UkrAvtoDor' health sanatorium to 'The Family,"
p.s. In the court's report of the Novikov trial, Shcherban jr.'s, and other participants' identities are concealed - they are referred to by a number only. However, from the report details it is very easy to determine with high degree of certainty who stands behind these numbers.
Why should the identity of any participant in this homicide trial be concealed? This merely provides more evidence of the dreadfully subservient state of Ukraine's judiciary and law enforcement agencies, and the power Ukraine's current rulers have over them? [LEvko]
[Blog also based on info from Censor.net]